Ladies, it ain’t easy being us. Aside from the physical differences between gals and our male counterparts, we have a whole slew of mental challenges the dudes just don’t have; at least not to the same degree as we do. Yeah, menorrhagia is tough, carrying a 10 pound bowling ball across the finish line is tough, middleschmertz no fun, horromoes YIKES! But the toughest part of womanhood is the BIG LITTLE LIES we tell ourselves.
One of my favorite shows is premiering tonight – and just like my Westeros Women’s Clinic – I will be diagnosing the female characters of Big Little Lies in my Monterey Women’s Wellness Retreat series. Before I dive into their wellness issues, I want to talk about the common thread that binds all of the main characters – LIES.
One character lies about her discontent in her marriage, another lies about traumatic spousal abuse while painting a picture-perfect image of a well-to-do family, another has burried the trauma of a rape and the parentage of her only child and the last lies to inflate her own ego ( which is HUGE to begin with). All these lies conspire to result in the death of a main character – No spoilers.
This begs the question, what lies are we telling ourselves that, when left to fester, create bigger and bigger problems in our own lives? I’m no psychologist but I do know that when we create and feed lies (because lies beget more lies) it has a negative impact on our health. In a recent, yet unpublished, study.
“Anita Kelly and LiJuan Wang of Notre Dame recruited a group of 110 people from 18 to 71 years old, and told them that once a week for ten weeks they’d have to come in and, in a lie detector machine, report how many times in the previous week they had lied……those who had lied less reported better mental and physical health. They reported improvements in their relationships, less trouble sleeping, less tension, fewer headaches, and fewer sore throats”.
I gotta tell you, the fewer sore throats was a big selling point for me. I HATE a dang sore throat! But the takeaway is that lying causes stress and stress causes illness – so don’t lie.
I can hear you now – “Dr. B, I NEVER lie. I am an honest to Betsey person”
Here’s a few examples of how you lie (I know this because I lie too) #truthbomb
How are you?
Lie – GREAT! Never Better, Everything’s awesome.
Truth – I maxed out my credit cards, my 11 year old can’t sleep in her own bed and my husband golfs too much for my liking but I can’t tell him because it will cause a fight.
Do you need any help?
Lie – No, I got this!
Truth – Yeah I need help, how many MORE balls can I possibly juggle! I just say NO because I don’t want you to think I am weak or incompetent.
Wow, you live a charmed life . Your Insta/ Facebook feed is fabulous!
Lie – I know, #blessed
Truth – It took 45 pictures and 3 filters to not look like a hag, I did NOT wake up like that, that luxury car isn’t mine and those fabulous clothes have the tags on them and are going RIGHT back to the store after I take this photo!
See where I am going with this? Why can’t we be honest? All these little lies turn into big ones and, over time, degrades our health and wellness. I will be even more brutally honest, some of the lies we are already telling are too big to hide and require help NOW, like addictions, spousal abuse, or illness. They are problems we are conditioned to lie about because the truth is unpleasant. The lie, I can promise you, is worse. The lie doesn’t FIX anything and will, I promise, snowball into something much, much worse.
So, before you check-in to the Monterey Women’s Wellness Retreat this week, I want you to do a little self-examination. Be your own lie detector. See if, by NOT lying, you don’t feel better? Show off your messy house, say you need help, tell your husband his golf habit DOES bother you. A little honesty can result in a lot better health!
And if the lies you have been telling are covering up a serious problem now, seek help. Telling the truth can, sometimes, be a matter of life and death.